How to Create Attribute Groups in Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Contact Builder

By Chester Bullock, Mark Pollard

To link data extensions in an attribute group in Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Contact Builder, you must first establish a one-to-one relationship between the Contacts data extension and your data extension. From there, you can add additional data extensions as you need them.

You must add a data extension to an attribute group before the data in that data extension is available to Journey Builder’s filters as contact data.

Use the following steps to link data extensions:

  1. In Data Designer, click Create Attribute Group.

    You can click either the button on the top right or the Create Attribute Group spoke on the data map. The Create New Attribute Group window appears.

  2. Name your new attribute group and choose an icon to represent the attribute group on the data map.
  3. Click Create.

    A workspace appears with the Contacts data extension already available on the left side of the workspace.

  4. Click Link Data Extension.

    The Link Data Extension window appears with your Contacts fields on the left (under the Customer Data heading) and a navigation tree on the right.

    You can create a new data extension from this screen if the one you want to link doesn’t exist. Click Create New Data Extension instead of Link Data Extensions.

  5. Navigate to the data extension that you want to link and click it.

    A list of the columns in that data extension appears on the right.

  6. Click the fields from each list that correspond to each other.
  7. Select One in the drop-down list next to the name of each data extension.

    The system doesn’t restrict you from using a one-to-many relationship, but the initial mapping of a data extension to the contact record should always be a one-to-one relationship. A typical use case would be to link the email address or subscriber key from your data extension to the Contact ID field in Contacts.

  8. Click Save.

    The screen shows a representation of the data extension with a linked path connecting it to Contacts.

You can add an additional data extension to the attribute group by clicking the link icon with a plus sign that appears on the right side of the data extension and then repeating the mapping sequence just described.

After you add a data extension to an attribute group, you can no longer edit the data extension in the Email app. You must make any updates, including adding fields, from the Data Extensions link in Contact Builder. If a data extension is part of an attribute group, it must be removed from that attribute group to delete a field. This can have consequences to your data model, especially if Journey Builder is using the data extension, so deleting fields isn’t recommended.